Hobart and southern Tasmania has been forced into a snap three-day lockdown after a coronavirus-infected NSW man entered the state illegally and escaped hotel quarantine.
Premier Peter Gutwein announced a range of restrictions would be in force across a dozen local government areas from 6pm on Friday.
It was sparked by a 31-year-old man who was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at a home in Hobart's northern suburbs.
He had earlier escaped Hobart's Travelodge facility and has not co-operated with authorities and provided false information about his movements.
"One of the things that we do not want to be in this state is either Sydney or Melbourne, who acted too late in both instances when dealing with Delta," Mr Gutwein said.
"To be frank, we are not certain if we are being told the truth or not, which is why we've taken this action.
"It is very disappointing the circumstances we find ourselves in."
Tasmania, which has kept a hard border with mainland Australia, has just two active cases and has only recorded three this year.
"At this moment, we are at the highest risk of having COVID transmission in our state ... this year," State Public Health Director Mark Veitch said.
It was revealed on Thursday night the man went to a Woolworths in the suburb of Bridgewater on Tuesday afternoon, something he didn't tell authorities.
He was also at Montrose Park late on Monday night after escaping quarantine.
Dr Veitch said it was likely the man, who arrived without a valid border pass on a flight via Melbourne on Monday night, spent 18 hours in the community.
Thirty-nine primary contacts have been identified, including people at two households he visited, as well as 19 casual contacts.
About 80 people at the Woolworths are likely to be added to that list. Seventeen primary contacts have tested negative.
A primary contact of the man breached home quarantine on Thursday night.
Dr Veitch said the decision to lock down was made in part because Hobart's northern suburbs are lagging behind the state's overall vaccination rate.
The man, who has been fined $3000, was driven away from the Travelodge by a friend but exactly how he absconded remains unclear.
Mr Gutwein said he may have escaped out a window or down a fire escape when a guard was changing out of PPE.
Extra CCTV cameras have been installed at the hotel and security tightened.
Under the restrictions, people can only leave their homes for five reasons, including shopping for essential supplies, while many businesses will be forced to shut their doors.
Masks are mandatory when outdoors, and there is a 5km radius for exercise.
Anyone who was at the Woolworths from 3.30pm to 4pm on Tuesday has been told to isolate.
The man was ordered to undergo hotel quarantine because there were no flights available to send him back to NSW.
Australian Associated Press